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Thursday, 27 September 2012 13:23

IT Resource adds data center to grow cloud services

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COOPERSVILLE — Information technology services provider IT Resource is preparing for what company co-owner Gary Lutz predicts will be a groundswell of customers reaching for the cloud.

In this case, Lutz expects his customers to be clamoring for services such as cloud-based disaster recovery as well as increasingly popular Software As A Service IT outsourcing.

On Sept. 19, IT Resource said it had expanded its hosting services from a single data center at its Coopersville headquarters to a second data site out of US Signal Co. LLC’s managed data center in Grand Rapids. This actually means IT Resource customers will be backed up by seven US Signal data centers throughout the Great Lakes states connected to 12,000 miles of long-haul fiber optics.

The move allows IT Resource to expand its data center solutions into additional Midwest markets and provides its customers with higher levels of security and protection, Lutz said. IT Resource will now move into larger-scale implementation of its existing cloud services product line.

“We can scale up to tens of thousands of users quickly without adding any additional data centers, bandwidth or storage,” Lutz said.

IT Resource provides unified communications, virtualization, wireless, security virtual private networks, unified messaging, software as a service, applications hosting and more. The company will host an open house Oct. 11 in Coopersville plus two Lunch and Learn events — one Oct. 17 in Grand Rapids and the second Oct. 18 in Livonia, to explain the new US Signal alliance and what it means for business customers.

Its customers vary in size from small businesses to midsized companies to large enterprises, Lutz said. The new US Signal deal gives larger customers much expanded disaster recovery capabilities — if their building gets hit with a tornado or burns down, their digital assets, stored elsewhere, can be accessed immediately. Lutz said current IT Resource customers are based in Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere in the Midwest.

The company employs 21 people and manages Internet connections to 800 different sites. Lutz declined to disclose any financial information.

“Customers look to us to connect all of their locations for seamless applications no matter where they are in this country or the world,” he said. “Now we’re poised to ride the growth of cloud computing.”

Certainly, US Signal is riding the cloud now. Dan Olrich, US Signal chief technology offer, said one of the things that makes his company’s cloud offering unique is the cloud reaches well past one data center. In fact, US Signal’s cloud connects over a private fiber network to data centers in Grand Rapids; Southfield, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; South Bend, Ind.; Chicago; and Madison, Wis.

“All these locations are connected with 40 gigs (gigabytes) of bandwidth,” he said. “We have less than five milliseconds of latency on our network, providing near instantaneous response times.”

US Signal is a carrier to carriers.

“We have a very robust wholesale play for customers like IT Resource,” he said. “For some of those folks with single data centers, we offer them redundancy. We have data centers across many power grids so if one goes down, we stay up. We now have a lot of people coming to us because data centers in the Midwest have less adverse weather conditions, so we’re more reliable.”

Other wholesale clients are scattered about Michigan, as well as in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and the northern part of Missouri. US Signal is now expanding, installing fiber service to Pittsburgh, Louisville and Des Moines. This network connects to the Internet through hubs in Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis.

US Signal also provides services to large enterprises as well, including those in its sweet spot — health care, financial services and manufacturing, Olrich said. But he was quick to point out US Signal also provides service to small- to medium-sized businesses.

“We have thousands of customers from coast to coast,” Olrich said.

Mike Brennan is senior technology writer at MiBiz. His day job is editor and publisher of

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